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    • raddy59
    • By raddy59 13th Jun 17, 10:38 AM
    • 241Posts
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    raddy59
    Music Exam marking fiasco
    • #1
    • 13th Jun 17, 10:38 AM
    Music Exam marking fiasco 13th Jun 17 at 10:38 AM
    I have been taking a music diploma course externally with the aim of eventually teaching music.

    I took a practical diploma exam which I failed (just)

    I contacted the exam department with my point that parts of the syllabus hadn't been marked in the exam. This is obvious from the Examiners Report.

    They replied after a month (s/be 10 days) and didn't answer my initial query but instead raised a new point about the performance which is just plain wrong - and can be shown to be wrong as what they are saying bears no relationship to the program I performed

    I took the complaint higher to the head of exams, but after 2 weeks I have received no reply.

    I have resent my letter to the head of exams. In the meantime I have applied for a v. expensive resit - but I need to get to the bottom of this as
    1. I am resitting an exam (which I probably passed) with an at best incomplete report of why I failed so there may be things they found wrong haven't been reported , and
    2. I have since discovered other students who have had similar problems with this organisation.
    3. It has cost me a lot of money I don't really have

    I think they are making no serious attempt to sort this out and are "playing for time"
    How can I get them to address this - its dragging on and on
    So advice - what can i do next - if anything, or do I just have to pay up, put up and shut up?
    Last edited by raddy59; 13-06-2017 at 10:44 AM.
Page 1
    • jobbingmusician
    • By jobbingmusician 13th Jun 17, 10:51 AM
    • 18,517 Posts
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    jobbingmusician
    • #2
    • 13th Jun 17, 10:51 AM
    • #2
    • 13th Jun 17, 10:51 AM
    I have been taking a music diploma course externally with the aim of eventually teaching music.

    I took a practical diploma exam which I failed (just)

    I contacted the exam department with my point that parts of the syllabus hadn't been marked in the exam. This is obvious from the Examiners Report.

    They replied after a month (s/be 10 days) and didn't answer my initial query but instead raised a new point about the performance which is just plain wrong - and can be shown to be wrong as what they are saying bears no relationship to the program I performed

    I took the complaint higher to the head of exams, but after 2 weeks I have received no reply.

    I have resent my letter to the head of exams. In the meantime I have applied for a v. expensive resit - but I need to get to the bottom of this as
    1. I am resitting an exam (which I probably passed) with an at best incomplete report of why I failed so any points they found wrong haven't been reported , and
    2. I have since discovered other students who have had similar problems with this organisation.
    3. It has cost me a lot of money I don't really have

    I think they are making no serious attempt to sort this out and are "playing for time"
    So advice - what can i do next - if anything, or do I just have to pay up, put up and shut up?
    Originally posted by raddy59
    I find this interesting, but don't understand your post (probably me).


    I contacted the exam department with my point that parts of the syllabus hadn't been marked in the exam. This is obvious from the Examiners Report.
    Originally posted by raddy59
    What does this mean? It could mean the following (and possibly other things)

    1. The exam tested all areas of the syllabus, but some of the questions weren't marked. (how would you know?)

    2. All areas of the syllabus were tested, but some of the questions had no feedback on whatever report was sent to you.

    3. The exam failed to test some areas of the syllabus, (Common, and I don't see a problem with this)


    They replied after a month (s/be 10 days)
    Originally posted by raddy59
    Does this mean 'should be'? If so, should be according to what? Is there a document showing published standards for reply to your complaint?

    Are these people an accredited organisation? Who accredits them? I suggest that you send them another letter saying that your next complaint will be to the accrediting body.....
    I'm the Board Guide on the Matched Betting; Referrers and Jobseeking & Training boards. I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly, and I can move and merge posts there. Board guides are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com (it's not part of my role to deal with this). Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com.

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    • raddy59
    • By raddy59 13th Jun 17, 11:23 AM
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    raddy59
    • #3
    • 13th Jun 17, 11:23 AM
    • #3
    • 13th Jun 17, 11:23 AM
    Hi JB
    The syllabus set aside 50% of the marks for programming, performance and communication - quite separate from 50% for technical aspects of the performance. These were not commented on at all in the Report.

    Their own procedures stated that a reply to a query would be received within 10 working days - I received a reply after prompting a month after my initial contact.

    I took it higher to the head of exams - after 2 weeks i have had nothing, not even an acknowledgement

    The organisation is attached to the university of west london.
    Last edited by raddy59; 13-06-2017 at 11:44 AM.
    • Manxman in exile
    • By Manxman in exile 13th Jun 17, 1:54 PM
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    Manxman in exile
    • #4
    • 13th Jun 17, 1:54 PM
    • #4
    • 13th Jun 17, 1:54 PM
    I don't fully understand either.


    I presume this was a practical exam (eg some sort of musical performance)?


    Are you saying there is some sort of marking scheme whereby certain proportions of the total marks available are allocated across different aspects of the performance (eg 10% for this, 35% for that etc...) and that some aspects of your performance simply haven't been taken account of in your final mark? (So that you've only been assessed on a total of say 60% of the marks available rather than 100%?).


    I think I'd go back to the examining body and explain exactly what you are querying or complaining about. It may be a simple error(*). If UWL is the accrediting body, be prepared to go to them.


    (*) 30 years ago my niece sat an A level in law. To her disappointment she was awarded the lowest grade possible. (Can't remember if it would have been F = Fail or U = Unclassified?). It prevented her going to university that year. She appealed and was regraded to "A", the highest possible. Hard to believe but true! It worked out in her favour as she was eventually able to attend a much better university than she'd originally intended.
    • Rosemary7391
    • By Rosemary7391 13th Jun 17, 2:07 PM
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    Rosemary7391
    • #5
    • 13th Jun 17, 2:07 PM
    • #5
    • 13th Jun 17, 2:07 PM
    I assume you've not just got a report with a blank "technical aspects" section? I would assume this would be commented together with the performance and communication sections alongside each piece but awarded marks separately.

    Still struggling to think of what organisation this could be. Are the exams recorded?
    Me escondo detras de mi lengua... tengo miedo de que me entiendas... pero me gustara que me entendases ¡Ayudame!
    • Manxman in exile
    • By Manxman in exile 13th Jun 17, 2:13 PM
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    Manxman in exile
    • #6
    • 13th Jun 17, 2:13 PM
    • #6
    • 13th Jun 17, 2:13 PM
    I don't seem to be able to edit my previous post.


    The point I was trying to make about my niece is that the examiners must(?) have lost some of the pages or answers from her paper. And that this must(?) have been realised when they remarked it. How this could happen I don't know.


    If I understand your OP correctly, it sounds to me like you are asking a similar question. For example, your performance should have been assessed and marked on, say, 6 elements, but the examiners report and final mark clearly show you've only been marked on four elements. From what you have posted I assume this must be obvious from the report?
    • raddy59
    • By raddy59 13th Jun 17, 4:41 PM
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    raddy59
    • #7
    • 13th Jun 17, 4:41 PM
    • #7
    • 13th Jun 17, 4:41 PM
    manxman:
    it was a practical exam with a syllabus split between performance and technical elements (50/50 roughly). the examiners could mark each piece seperately (mad) or the perf. as a whole. The examiners marked each piece commenting technically neglecting to comment on the perf. elements. I pointed this out on my initial communication, and their reply ignored my point and instead raised an unconnected point which, as I said, could not possibly have occurred.
    This is now 2 months after the exam, I have been in touch with the chief examiner and now his boss. I had to chase the first guy up as he had not responded within the 10 days laid down. Now his boss, head of exams similarly has ignored my second letter concerning the irrelevance and impossibility of the chief examiners reply.
    "From what you have posted I assume this must be obvious from the report?" - yeah, you would have thought so. But rather than take this on board they kept me hanging on until I had to book a resit then gave a facile answer



    Rosemary - you're almost there with the marking. In his previous exam they did comment on each piece but made comments relating to performance elements so that was ok. I got 90%. These 2 examiners did not comment at all on performance elements.

    The exam is not recorded, but I have kept my points as objective and proveable as I could
    Certain elements are obviously missing from the exam report
    You can't play the form of music they say I played over the pieces I actually played - it's not possible.

    they didn't acknowledge my reply to their point which I mailed on 31.5, so I re-sent recorded which they have received today.

    If they could acknowledge the problem instead of trying to get out of it I would get my resit fee back (£400) and a avoid the resit which is costly in time and money

    Perhaps I should go to the big boss in UWL and not wait any longer?
    Last edited by raddy59; 13-06-2017 at 5:00 PM.
    • Manxman in exile
    • By Manxman in exile 13th Jun 17, 5:58 PM
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    Manxman in exile
    • #8
    • 13th Jun 17, 5:58 PM
    • #8
    • 13th Jun 17, 5:58 PM
    The examiners marked each piece commenting technically neglecting to comment on the perf. elements...

    ...These 2 examiners did not comment at all on performance elements...

    ...The exam is not recorded,...


    ... You can't play the form of music they say I played over the pieces I actually played - it's not possible.
    Originally posted by raddy59

    So the Examiners Feedback (or report, whatever) clearly and unambiguously omits to mark certain elements of your performance? Obviously I can't see the feedback, but if it's clearly deficient or lacking in this respect then it must be obvious to them that the scoring is wrong. Unless you are completely misunderstanding how your performance was to be assessed I don't see how they can't agree with you - unless they are clearly embarrassed!


    I had to do a course for work in 2007 having last sat an exam in 1982. I was amazed at the marking schemes we were provided with before each assessment. They were extremely specific and prescriptive. I thought they were daft as it would be possible to fail an absolutely brilliant piece of work because it didn't fit into the scheme. At the same time, completely mediocre pieces of work could get very high marks by ticking all the boxes. It was almost like learning by rote. But the good thing was you could argue about the mark you got because the scheme was so prescriptive. Is that not the case here?


    Also I don't understand how a live performance music exam isn't recorded. How do you dispute the examiners' remarks if there's no permanent record like with a written script?


    I'd be thinking about UWL i9f they're not (or refusing to) follow their own procedures.
    • Manxman in exile
    • By Manxman in exile 13th Jun 17, 6:13 PM
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    Manxman in exile
    • #9
    • 13th Jun 17, 6:13 PM
    • #9
    • 13th Jun 17, 6:13 PM

    What does this mean? It could mean the following (and possibly other things)

    1. The exam tested all areas of the syllabus, but some of the questions weren't marked. (how would you know?)

    2. All areas of the syllabus were tested, but some of the questions had no feedback on whatever report was sent to you.

    3. The exam failed to test some areas of the syllabus, (Common, and I don't see a problem with this)
    Originally posted by jobbingmusician

    The Op's use of the term syllabus confuses me too. I've never sat an exam that tested all parts of the syllabus - it wouldn't be possible for any syllabus I've ever studied - it would take days, weeks or months. Maybe syllabus has a different meaning in music exams.


    If the OP is so sure that this is wrong, I think it's worrying the examining body can't see this. I hope the OP has the correct understanding of how this practical exam was to be assessed/marked.
    • Rosemary7391
    • By Rosemary7391 13th Jun 17, 6:35 PM
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    Rosemary7391

    Also I don't understand how a live performance music exam isn't recorded. How do you dispute the examiners' remarks if there's no permanent record like with a written script?
    Originally posted by Manxman in exile
    I think most of them aren't, for sheer practicality. That'd be a huge volume of data, and you'd have to trail recording equipment and a technician around with the examiner. Plus they'd not be really able to re mark it from the recording unless it was an extremely good recording, and setting that up would take far too long. I was just wondering really!

    OP - you're comparing this experience to a previous exam. Was the previous exam a diploma level or graded level? It'd help if we could go look at the syllabus I think. But usually there are massive changes in exam format, requirements and marking between graded and diploma level exams.

    I'm guessing that it isn't a "classical" instrument/genre from some of your comments - that's where my experience is in but there will be some crossover of course.
    Me escondo detras de mi lengua... tengo miedo de que me entiendas... pero me gustara que me entendases ¡Ayudame!
    • raddy59
    • By raddy59 13th Jun 17, 7:52 PM
    • 241 Posts
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    raddy59
    Jazz performance - licentiate so level 6? (Hons level)
    Basically it's an LLCM jazz performance = 3rd diploma level.
    Because it's performance they are testing your ability to present a well thought out program to the audience, to communicate effectively and engage them. So you can;t go on stage and sit there like an imbecile, say nuthin', dressed in rags and present a program of mega fast mega loud avant garde/freeform no matter how technically "good" you play - at least thats what I thought and that's how I approached my previous....
    • xapprenticex
    • By xapprenticex 13th Jun 17, 7:58 PM
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    xapprenticex
    From the look of it you are not going to get anywhere with complaints etc. Just do your re-sit, focus on that and better luck next time.
    • Rosemary7391
    • By Rosemary7391 13th Jun 17, 9:45 PM
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    Rosemary7391
    Jazz performance - licentiate so level 6? (Hons level)
    Basically it's an LLCM jazz performance = 3rd diploma level.
    Because it's performance they are testing your ability to present a well thought out program to the audience, to communicate effectively and engage them. So you can;t go on stage and sit there like an imbecile, say nuthin', dressed in rags and present a program of mega fast mega loud avant garde/freeform no matter how technically "good" you play - at least thats what I thought and that's how I approached my previous....
    Originally posted by raddy59

    Gotcha - know where you're coming from now! Definitely you're on the right lines with making it more like a proper performance. If I've found the correct syllabus, did you choose the Standard format or the Recital? Is it possible they thought you'd chosen the other one and marked accordingly?

    Do you have a teacher? I wouldn't approach an exam of this level without some guidance from somewhere, it's a massive undertaking.

    You might get more opinions here. (I know it's a different board, but they certainly used to discuss other boards including LCM. Whether they still do I'm not sure, as I'm not a regular there anymore.)
    Me escondo detras de mi lengua... tengo miedo de que me entiendas... pero me gustara que me entendases ¡Ayudame!
    • Savvy_Sue
    • By Savvy_Sue 13th Jun 17, 10:16 PM
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    Savvy_Sue
    I'd be astonished if any exams board did not have a formal complaints procedure, including how to escalate, and that's what I'd start doing now.
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    • jobbingmusician
    • By jobbingmusician 14th Jun 17, 12:15 AM
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    jobbingmusician
    Yes, I was wondering if it was some sort of Licentiate/Diploma.

    There are still a couple of things I don't understand.

    1. how time critical is your appeal? I agree that they are dragging their heels in an unacceptable way. How long do you have to sort this out before you have to pay for your resit? Can you point out to them that they have a duty to sort out a proper response before this date? (Or have you actually paid for this already - it sounds as if you might have??)

    2. Why are you proposing writing to UWL rather than LCM? Surely LCM are actually the people most invested in their own licentiate exam?

    3. As you may imagine from my name, I know something about music exams I'll see if I can divert a friend who works at one of the big music colleges (not LCM, sadly) on to this thread.
    I'm the Board Guide on the Matched Betting; Referrers and Jobseeking & Training boards. I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly, and I can move and merge posts there. Board guides are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com (it's not part of my role to deal with this). Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com.

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    • Manxman in exile
    • By Manxman in exile 14th Jun 17, 1:32 AM
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    Manxman in exile
    OK - I'm beginning to understand a bit more now from subsequent posters.


    But this still seems a bit arbitrary to me. With a written exam the candidate can always request a review because there is a permanent written record (their exam script) of what they've produced, and this can be looked at again if the candidate challenges their mark. But how can a practical exam/performance/presentation not be recorded in some way? I'm sure this may be expensive and/or difficult, but surely it goes to the whole essence of the exam? If the examining body can't afford this (or doesn't want to factor it into the original examination fee) isn't it all completely hit and miss?


    What if one of the examiners says " I thought this was particularly ingenious and presented in a novel way" and one of the others says "Sorry, I must have missed that!"


    I still don't understand one thing: is the OP saying they were not marked ( ie missed out) on compulsory elements of the exam, or are they saying that they were marked, but got zero marks on those elements?


    The OP needs to make this clear to the accrediting body, not us
    • Manxman in exile
    • By Manxman in exile 14th Jun 17, 1:38 AM
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    Manxman in exile

    2. Why are you proposing writing to UWL rather than LCM? Surely LCM are actually the people most invested in their own licentiate exam?

    3. As you may imagine from my name, I know something about music exams I'll see if I can divert a friend who works at one of the big music colleges (not LCM, sadly) on to this thread.
    Originally posted by jobbingmusician

    I'm not sure the OP understands who "owns" this qualification. They mentioned UWL in #3
    • raddy59
    • By raddy59 14th Jun 17, 5:39 AM
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    raddy59
    JB - I was already late for a resit entry waiting for a reply. I spoke to exam admin who told me to wait as I'd have the late fee waived - the same day I spoke to them I had an emailed response as if they had been waiting for me to relent. This would be roughly a month after I had initially contacted the Chief Examiner, and 2 weeks after I reverted the issue to the Director of Exams. So now I had to apply for a resit as time was ticking.
    The awarding body is a branch of UWL. Its now 2 months almost to the day since I first contacted them. I have now 10 days to the resit and still haven't got to the bottom of this - also preparing for the thing when I have had no performance feedback and the mentioning a style of music that I couldn't possibly have played makes me now wonder if any of them know what they're talking about (or examining) or if it's just bluster to get rid of my complaining.

    Why are you proposing writing to UWL rather than LCM? Surely LCM are actually the people most invested in their own licentiate exam?
    Just looking at UWL organisation chart again and digging around I notice that the Senior Pro Vice Chancellor at UWL responsible for LCM is actually Director of LCM also. Maybe I should contact her to get some resolution? What do you think?


    It's tempting to take xapprenticex advice (above) but I only just failed, I have had no proper feedback about my concerns, there is no guarantee it won't hapen again (most likely will with the lack of, or "incredible" feedback) It's all such a bl@@dy mess.

    Manxman
    I still don't understand one thing: is the OP saying they were not marked ( ie missed out) on compulsory elements of the exam, or are they saying that they were marked, but got zero marks on those elements?
    As I said earlier: it was a practical exam with a syllabus split between performance and technical elements (50/50 roughly). the examiners could mark each piece seperately (mad) or the perf. as a whole. The examiners marked each piece commenting technically neglecting to comment on the perf. elements. I pointed this out on my initial communication with them.
    Last edited by raddy59; 14-06-2017 at 6:49 AM.
    • Rosemary7391
    • By Rosemary7391 14th Jun 17, 8:37 AM
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    Rosemary7391
    So they haven't commented on the performance elements, which is poor I agree. Are you sure they didn't mark them though? Is there a breakdown of the marks or just one whole mark?

    It might be useful to annotate a copy of your report for whoever you speak to, so there can be no doubt what you're referring to?
    Me escondo detras de mi lengua... tengo miedo de que me entiendas... pero me gustara que me entendases ¡Ayudame!
    • raddy59
    • By raddy59 14th Jun 17, 9:19 AM
    • 241 Posts
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    raddy59
    In the previous exam the examiners commented on and marked each piece but brought out stylistic and performance elements. In this exam there is a mark per piece but no comments whatsoever on performance, program, communication. So do I think they have been addressed - who knows, which is what I asked the chief examiner and what he failed to address. He instead brought up a new point about the 12 bar blues which I didn't, and more importantly couldn't, have played with these pieces. I expected them to know that, and amazed at him making the point as it is so obviously wrong
    Last edited by raddy59; 14-06-2017 at 9:29 AM.
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